If you were asked to list off what you spent your time doing every day, could you do it?
Most of us could not.
We may feel like we have spent time working on important things all day, but at the end of the day it is easy to look back and wonder where all your time went.
I am guilty of this. There are so many days that I feel like I move 100 mph all day long, but then I reach the end of the day only to feel like I am in the same position that I started in.
How does that happen?
If I have been so busy all day, how can it feel like I didn’t really achieve anything? How can I not remember what I spent so much of my time doing?
Maybe that is just my personality, or maybe that is a symptom of the culture that we live in.
It is common for people to be over worked, and over stressed. We try to fit everything we can into our days.
However it is unrealistic to take on as much as many of us take on.
We need to come to the realization that we can’t do it all.
The key: We need to focus only on what is the most important.
So how do we decide what are the most important things to focus on?
First, you have to begin by figuring out what is currently the most important to you right now. Whether you realize it or not, you are prioritizing certain things in your life.
But are they they right things?
In his book Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average, Do Work that Matters author Jon Acuff talks about this idea. He refers to the things we prioritize as “diamonds.” Jon challenges you to take a look at your life, and your calendar to see what your “diamonds” are.
You see, there is really no difference between a diamond and any other rock. The only thing that makes them different is the value that we associate with them.
People are far more willing to pay large amounts of money for a diamond than they are any other type of rock, but in reality they are the same.
So what are your diamonds? What are you placing the highest value on currently?
How to Find Your Diamonds
To figure out what we place the most value on in our lives, first we have to identify our most valuable asset.
Is it money? Or our possessions?
No. Neither of these.
Our most valuable asset is our time!
The key to figuring out what we value the most is to figure out where our time is going. Our time show what we attribute the greatest value to.
As Jon says:
I didn’t particularly like the implications value attribution had in my own life. It was fun to say, “My kids are a top priority to me, my wife is a top priority to me, what I write is a top priority to me,” but sometimes I found myself treating them like rocks. How did I know? Because I wasn’t giving them the most valuable currency I won – time. I was forced to ask myself, Are my wife and kids and writing getting the best of my time and creativity or the rest of my time and creativity? Was I calling the right things diamonds and the right things rocks? Or was it possible I had it backwards?
What are you spending your time on?
What do you say is a top priority to you?
Are the answers to these two questions the same? If not, it is time to reprioritize your life. It is time to start focusing on the “diamonds,” and saying no to the “rocks.”
I am not saying that you need to quit doing everything that is not a “diamond” for you, it would be great if you could but in reality that just may not happen right away. But the goal would to be to get there as quickly as possible.
You need to figure out what your “diamonds” are, and then begin taking intentional steps towards making those the same things that show up on your calendar.
One of the best ways to make progress in this area is to do a daily time audit. Each day, write down what you spend your time doing.
Am I really telling you to add something else to your schedule , when you are trying to remove things from your schedule? Yes I am, but just for a short period of time.
Do this for a few days, or maybe even a week. It won’t take but a few additional minutes each day.
As you begin a new task, take a second to write it down and make a note of your start time. When you finish the task, or take a break, write down those times as well.
After doing this for a few days you will see where your time is going. You will see what you are prioritizing each and every day. You will see your “diamonds” and your “rocks.”
I think you will be surprised to see how much time is wasted each day by doing things that don’t really matter to you, or by doing nothing at all.
Give it a shot and see what you find out.
Don’t let rocks steal your time. It’s time to fill your schedule with diamonds!
Question: What is stealing the most amount of time for you?